Maximize the Touches
Have you thought about all the ways and instances you "touch" your guests even when you never see them? Many Vacation Rental Owners offer self-check in these days and therefore never "see" their guests.
Greeting your guests personally is not the trend anymore, self-check in is!
However, you still "touch" them often throughout the process of booking and staying in your rental. These touches will either make or break a guest's vacation, and unfortunately the saying is true -- You Can't Return a Vacation!
When I was in banking, we always discussed the Customer Experience. We hired companies to mystery shop the employees to see how a potential customer experience would be when they walked through the doors of the bank branch. We graded the employees on customer service and it was always part of their review. We trained and we trained and we trained. We gave bonuses and little extra "treats" when the branch or employee scored high on the Customer Service Audit. To say we talked about customer service is an understatement! However, that focus was mainly on the time that the customer physically entered the facility. What about the before and after?
Why am I talking about customer service in a bank? Because it relates the same to your Guest Experience in a Vacation Rental!
It's time for you to take a down and dirty look at your Guest Experience! Do you want REPEAT guests? Do you want those guests to RAVE about your vacation rental? How about if they tell ALL their friends and family about the wonderful stay they just had and how all the various "touches" were fantastic.
Let's think of all (or at least some) of the ways you "touch" your guests BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER their stay with you! Let's do a Guest Touch Audit on your Vacation Rental. Some of this will require help from a trusted friend or advisor (like us), but much of this you can do on your own.
Start at the beginning. Get out a pen and paper (yep, that's go the old-fashioned route)! What might help you perform a Guest Touch Audit is for you or a friend or trusted advisor to actually book a stay in the vacation rental (no charge of course!). Look at all the ways you "touch" a guest. Start with the booking process and guest communications. Follow your own instructions step by step for accessing the rental. Think about their first impression when they arrive.
Next, try to imagine staying in your vacation rental as if you had no idea where everything was or how to use the amenities. Write everything down all the little details and imagine someone doing all of these things for the very first time. Yes...amenities are "touches".
Let's break this into 4 categories: Pre-Booking, Booked, Guest, Post-Stay.
Pre-Booking: What is the very FIRST touch that your potential guests could have with your vacation rental? This COULD BE your listing, but it could also be other ways your guest learned about your vacation rental, such as: word of mouth recommendation, social media or places that you may advertise.
Booking: Jot down every potential point of contact, from an inquiry email to a booking confirmation to your pre-arrival welcome communication.
Guest: Here's where you have the most details. Jot down what they see when they pull up to the property. How is the experience when a guest attempts to follow your entry instructions? What do they experience when they open the door? Also think about the following: cleanliness, comfort, welcome book, extras, security, response to issues, checkout, etc.
Post-Stay: What is your post-stay communication? Review Responses? Social Media engagement with previous guests? Newsletters/E-mail "marketing"?
That's a lot of touches! So many opportunities for you to WOW your guests! We're not done with the audit yet, though! As you work through all the touches, consider if there are any obstacles or issues with any of the touch points! Are there ways you can improve on them or maximize the guest experience? Trust me, if you look closely and think of your guests, you will find ways to improve and WOW your guests!
Your guests are looking for an awesome experience with you, because ---- You Can't Return a Vacation!
WELCOME your guests with a WOW in all the little ways!